Fainting Goat: Goat Breed Profile and Information

fainting goat

You might be wondering if there is any kind of goat that is referred to as a Fainting goat; well, in this essay, you are going to learn about them.

The most common names for these goats are myotonic goats or Tennessee fainting goats, but they are also people who sometimes refer to them as Texas wooden leg goats, stiff goats, nervous goats, or scare goats.

The breed is a landrace that originated in the United States. It can vary in size and appearance, but it has many valuable characteristics, including the so-called “fainting” that made it famous.

The first historical record of these goats came into existence in the 1880s in central Tennessee; however, the goats’ actual origin is still a mystery.

History of Fainting Goat

In the 1880s, itinerant farm laborer John Tinsley brought four goats of this species with him when he arrived in middle Tennessee.

Tinsley was reportedly from Nova Scotia. However, Tinsley eventually moved on and sold the goats together with their progeny to his previous employer, Dr. Mayberry, after a period of a few years.

They were highly desired in Tennessee due to their low propensity for climbing and jumping, which made it simpler to contain them using fencing.

Their development as meat goats for local consumption resulted from selective breeding. Similarly, several Texan ranchers in the 1950s produced a taller line of cattle with an emphasis on the meat characteristics of the animals.

The foundation herds in Tennessee are where these Texan goats came from, and they continue to be a part of the breed today.

During the 1980s, strange and uncommon breeds became trendy, contributing to myotonic goats’ rise in popularity.

To keep track of individual animals as well as their offspring, registries were established. Some fans emphasized that they were relatively little, had tight muscles, and tended to topple over.

In later years, an increasing number of breeders began to recognize the commercial potential of their productive traits.

The concern was that people would overlook distinctive and helpful qualities in favor of new characteristics. Because they can pass the illness through crossbreeding, “fainting” goats do not always come from the landrace breed of goats.

The Myotonic Goat Registry maintains open registration to locate and maintain traditional types and purebred lineages of goats.

As with other local goat breeds, the population began to fall around the end of the twentieth century but is now beginning to recover due to conservation efforts.

Overview of Fainting Goat


Recent selection for various aims has resulted in large amounts of variation in both size and superficial features.

However, members of the breed are all characterized by the same rigidity and share a different body, facial, and ear characteristics.

The body is stout and heavily muscled throughout. There is a wide range of possible lengths, from short and sleek to long and shaggy, and some even develop a dense cashmere coat in the winter.

Some goats have a prominently protruding forehead and eyes, and their facial profile ranges from straight to concave. Ears are often held horizontally and are of medium size.

Most ears have a ripple about halfway down the length of the ear. In addition, the vast majority of them have horns, which can range from being thin and linear to being wide and twisted.


A wide variety of colors and patterns are present in the breed. Early breeders chose a combination of black and white, although even this combination can result in offspring with various colors.

Tennessee Fainting Goat Height to Withers

From 17 Inches (43 cm).


50–175 lb (22–80 kg).

Purpose of Use

Meat, landscape management, and pets are some of their most common uses.


Myotonic goats are watchful, more reticent, and subdued than other goats. Other important distinguishing features of the myotonic or fainting goat include its high teachability and trainability.

Its high level of adaptation to low-input farmland and foraging, and its capacity for crossbreeding, can result in hybrids with increased physical strength and improved health.


Highly productive breeders who have a longer season. They often have twins but can occasionally have triplets.

The meat produced by animals with thick muscling has a higher meat-to-bone ratio of 4:1 (whereas the ratio in most breeds is 3:1), and it is tasty, tender, and excellent in quality.


Calm and peaceful in most situations, it is almost always for an important reason when they bleat.


They can find food independently and efficiently using winter feed. In addition, they are easy to contain because they are less nimble than other kinds.

Thus they are not as rough on the landscape or the fencing. In addition, they have a high level of tolerance to parasites.

People who have long, shaggy coats are better able to withstand adverse weather conditions. Does have an excellent capacity for milk production, a strong maternal instinct, and can successfully raise three young on their own.

Myotonia Congentia Causes Stiffness in the Limbs

The medical disorder known as myotonia congenita, which affects the muscles rather than the nervous system, is responsible for the variable degrees of stiffness present.

This is the reason why goats seem to pass out. Muscle cells require a few seconds to relax after contracting, causing stiff legs.

While some goats’ hind legs rarely stiffen, others’ hips may swivel as they move, giving the appearance that the goat has stiffened rear legs.

It is bad for goats to have extreme stiffness since it stops them from coping adequately with their surroundings.

A stiffening of the limbs might happen when someone is startled, enthusiastic, moves rapidly, or steps over a low barrier. Then, when the goat loses its equilibrium, it will fall over.

The goat maintains consciousness all the way through the event. In humans and other animals, there is a lack of painful symptoms in linked disorders.

Goats are less prone to experience injuries if they have gained the ability to adapt to their environment. Goats that have become accustomed to people and their surroundings are less likely to be frightened.

However, we must take extra precautions not to frighten the animals and keep them safe from dangerous predators. Tennessee Fainting Goats Are Adaptable And Friendly To People

In conclusion

Meat goat farmers interested in a fainting goat well-adapted to a low-input forage-based system will find that the Tennessee or fainting goat has a lot to offer.

Their robust build and resistance to the elements make them an especially appealing choice for use as components in production systems.

In addition, they have a practically optimal conversion rate from low-quality fodder to high-quality meat. At the same time, they have a tremendous capacity for motherhood and personalities that make them suitable candidates for keeping as pets.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like